Thursday, February 04, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
In a world where fear and worry are as common to many as eating and breathing, the thought "What if?" can pop into a person's mind several times in a day. If you have an overactive, overly imaginative mind such as mine, the "what if's" can give birth to more "what if's" and can spiral out of control! Whether it is a "what if" for the future or a "what if" from the past, both are thoughts that can cause fear and are definitely from the enemy!
What are the common "What if" thoughts I have come to entertain in the recent year?
What if I don't get any new work? Will we be able to provide for the family's needs?
What if one of us gets sick? Will we have money to get medical help?
What if the year doesn't get easier for our family?
What if I didn't do this or if i did this instead of this when I was raising my child, would
things have turned out different for him?
What if i didn't have another child, would my son feel more secure and more stable?
What if? What if? What if?
Sometimes when we dwell on the "what if's" for too long it can consume us to the point where we can actually "will" these bad things to happen! I am often guilty of allowing these awful thoughts to enter my head, and in the end I feel bad for doing so because it robs me of my peace and causes physical ailments which I otherwise would not have felt if I just turned my "what if" into a "what now, Lord" prayer. I know it is so much easier said than done, especially when we are right in the middle of a crisis. But unless I catch myself at the moment I start playing these words in my head, it will just go on and on to the point of me starting to believe these terrible lies! The Bible says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5. By turning over these worrying thoughts over to the Lord the moment they begin playing in my head, I am able to prevent them from taking root in my heart.
Battling the "what if's" will always be a struggle for me, but I hold on to His promise of peace as long as I give to Him anything that causes me to be anxious. By His grace I am able to face each day with courage, believing only what He wants me to believe and receiving a life free of fear and worry.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:7
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I am starting the year (actually middle of January to be exact) with going back to blogging as a means for me to find healing for the (recent) past hurts and strength to yet face the coming months. Joining the Living Fearlessly series with Iris of Grace Alone and other bloggers is a big step for me to confront my gnawing fears of what is still unknown to me, and hopefully to help me leave the painful past behind.
I would like to equate worry with fear, and believe me I am no stranger to worry. I grew up in a family where worry was a habit everyone could never seem to break. Even as a renewed Christian my worrying never really left me. In fact, with two kids and a new home, my worries seemed to grow stronger as they grew older and became more and more exposed to the evils of this world. Sadly, my security was anchored on things of the world -- my business and the money we had in the bank. As long as I knew we were financially stable and our business was bringing in money for our family, I knew i had my fear and worries at bay.
Last year with the onset of the global recession, my company was one of those that took the hardest hit. With financial concerns rising in several industries, marketing and advertising budgets were the first to go in most companies. My business, being in the design and marketing services industry was no longer first priority in their budget allocations. As the months rolled by, signs of cashflow problems were showing. By November 2009 the inevitable happened -- we needed to cut our losses and close down the office. What "I" had built for 8 long years to become a reputable design boutique was suddenly throwing in the towel. What I held on for the longest time and what I viewed as my "identity" was pulling away from my grip. I felt my world crumbling down and my faith going down with it. By December I officially said goodbye to my staff who have become my family over the years, and bid the office adieu. So much pain, resentment and the feeling of failure engulfed me, and at such a horrible time! Christmas was just around the corner and we were in no way feeling the Christmas spirit.
I cried buckets and buckets to the Lord and asked Him why he allowed this to happen. I felt like a rug was pulled out from under me and I had lost my balance. I was afraid of so many things -- fear of people being disappointed in me, fear of having no other source of income, fear of not being able to help provide for my family's needs, fear of losing a sense of who i was. I dreaded the coming of the new year as it would make the realization of not having an office to go to more solid and painful. Fear consumed me but my faith in the Lord grew with each day I had to wake up and face what He had prepared for me.
The Lord, apparently, had other plans for me. Plans that I would never have even given much attention to as I was too much involved in my business and my career. By the last quarter of the year, several very unfortunate events happened in my family involving my children and my home. Events which threatened our security, our safety, my children's emotional and spiritual well-being and even my marriage. In short, there was much disorder, imbalance and disarray in my household -- and I never even gave attention to them because I was too focused on my work and my business woes! It had to take this to happen for the Lord to get my attention and to set my sights on what really mattered. And with "new eyes" I saw that I had take for granted so many concerns in my home to the point where everyone one was already crying for my help, and I didn't hear any of them! I am not saying that God took my business away, but rather He allowed it to run its course so that I would see the bigger picture. My family needed me badly and the only way for me to take notice was to remove the distractions that have been preoccupying me for the longest time. With the closure of my company, I was now forced to stay at home and spend most of my time with my kids and watching over the needs of my household. And that is where I am right now. I am embarking on a new journey as a work-from-home mom, taking on work on a per-project basis while taking care of my kids -- something I have not done in the past 8 years.
Of course there is still so much fear in my heart, but knowing that the Lord is in control now helps me deal with it better. Because His plans are better than mine, I can only trust in His wisdom in this new path I am taking. Because His ways are higher than mine, I can only rely on His grace to get me through whatever lies ahead. I remember telling our worship leader, "I feel like I am standing at the mouth of a very dark tunnel where all I can see is darkness and I am unsure of making that first step through." His reply brought peace to my heart: "Remember, it is in the darkness that our eyes focus best." The Lord and His promises are true yesterday, today and tomorrow... in the darkness, i will focus on these and find the light to guide me through it.